Are you taking right steps to protect your Intellectual Property?
Given the ever-growing risk of IP infringement, there are several steps all businesses should take to reduce their risk. Below are just a few examples:
Ensure you have the proper protections in place. Protecting your IP does take time and money, but it is almost always well worth the effort. Federally registered patents, trademarks, and copyrights provide important protection and the ability to prosecute potential infringers in court. With respect to trade secrets, nondisclosure agreements are an important tool used to make sure employees as well as consultants, vendors, and business partners know what should be kept confidential and the consequences of breaching that duty.
Train employees to safeguard IP. Companies should have policies and procedures in place to prevent employees from intentionally or inadvertently disclosing trade secrets and other proprietary information. In addition, training your staff about what intellectual property is and how best to protect that IP against inappropriate disclosure is an important method of protecting a company’s most valuable IP against being disclosed to competitors.
Monitor for signs of infringement. Companies also need to actively monitor their IP for signs of infringement. While there are services and software that can assist in this process, small businesses can often search for trademarked or copyrighted materials on their own using online tools that detect the use of specified keywords, such as your brand name or tag line. Of course, should you detect signs of IP infringement, theft or misappropriation, it is also imperative to take action immediately in consultation with an experienced attorney.